Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is a collective name for a group of traditional medicine practices originating in China. TCM practices include treatments of Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary therapy, and both Tui Na and Shiatsu massage. Qigong and Taijiquan are also closely associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
From a TCM perspective, cancer is a systemic disorder, and the uncontrolled growth of malignant cells is only part of the whole complex manifestations; individuals also have certain organ dysfunctions, meridian disorders, and so on. TCM philosophy emphasizes that cancer development is basically due to a weakened body that makes individuals susceptible to different carcinogens. Western allopathic approaches like surgery, radiation or chemotherapy mainly target cancer cells, with little concern about the overall condition of the body. But, based upon a holistic view of cancer pathology, TCM physicians are able to realize substantial changes in cancer patients through unique examination and diagnostic skills, and along with therapies like herbs, acupuncture, massage or diet that aim at assisting the body to regain balance and achieve homeostasis.
In general, the approaches used in TCM are less aggressive; they are safe, effective, affordable and accessible to most cancer patients. They control symptoms, shorten recovery time, improve survival rates and quality of life. The main reasons why many people seek TCM treatment for cancer are:
• Prevention of cancer development
• Symptom management
• Reducing the complications of conventional therapies
• Arresting progression of the condition
• Improvement in quality of life
• Prevention of recurrence
• A new approach to health maintenance
However, despite the benefits of TCM, it should not be used as a primary treatment modality. TCM still cannot compare with the Western conventional cancer treatment in terms of effectiveness and timeliness, although it does provide an important collaborative resource to link with conventional cancer treatment.